Monday, November 16, 2009

Let the Joy Bells Ring

The news on Friday was not what I had hoped. I will undergo more scans and tests because of the cancer in my chest wall. I sat in St. David's Hospital on Friday and panic washed over me as I listened to the doctor's concerns. So, how should I think? How should I live? Acts 17:26 came to my mind that God has appointed my times and boundaries that I should reach out for Him and grope in the darkness and find Him. The verse says HE is closer than we all know.

I am in the midst of several trials right now. So is Bob and Britt---that's our whole household. Sometimes, it just happens that way. It's my birthday today and I sit and reflect this morning on another year. It's been hard. I just read this quote in Crabb's book Real Church: "It's hard to set the panic aside; to move through the pain; to delay gratification; to live feeling empty, worthless, betrayed, and to ask: Okay, what's the big picture here? What kind of person do I want to be for my kids, for my friends, for me, for my God in the middle of this mess? What kind of values do I want to uphold? What matters the most at any cost to me? What is my life really all about right now and what fire is still burning in me that can keep me moving toward something truly good?" Yes!

Yes, I am struggling lots and sometimes struggling better in some moments than others. I'm kind of a mess right now. But I am a glorious mess! And, with tears streaming down my face, I can say there is a fire burning within me that no circumstance, no trial can put out. "There is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones and I am weary with holding it in and I cannot." Jer. 20:9. And for that, I praise Him! He is the fire that burns within you and me. I'm so grateful on this day for the ways God has used each of you in my life to stir up such good things inside of me. So grateful on this birth day for a beautiful God Who keeps showing up and stirring me up.

There was another quote in the book that jumped out at me as I read: "Every good thing you used to cling to, you come to see what it is in reality: a mere drop of pleasure in an ocean of joy, a drop you can lose without really losing anything." So, as I let go of some things even on this birth day---things like unfulfilled desires and expectations, I hear some incredible joy bells ringing in my heart. I don't want to spend another day, another year clinging to worthless stuff! Jonah 2:8. Let the joy bells ring! I'm dancing on an ocean floor of joy.

31 comments:

Rhonda 11/16/2009  

First - Happy Birthday!
Second - praise God for those joy bells!
Will continue to lift you up before the throne of grace. You are a bright and shining vessel of the Lord Jesus Christ Bev and your blog blesses my socks off! You are an encouragement to all who read. Will pray for your household as well!

Laura 11/16/2009  

Oh my dear friend. Been thinking of you during the days. Even in the midst of your trials, you bless me with your openess and honesty! May the LORD richly bless you today.

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD 11/16/2009  

Hi Bev just read your blog you are such an encouragement to all of us seista's . You have been an encouragement in my life when I first started commenting on your post I have changed for the better and thanks for your encouragement and hanging on to Our Precious Saviour you are grounded in the Lord hope you have a good birthday
will be praying for you and hope to see you at the seista scripture verse memorization in Jan 2010
Love a seista in Albuquerque NM
carol

Toknowhim 11/16/2009  

Oh sweet Bev... First Happy Birthday... I didn't realize our birthdays were so close together :)

I wish I could say something that would just be what you need to hear, but when I read your posts I see that you are hearing words from the very One that you really need to hear from. Oh just know that you my friend do shine Jesus through you... You are radiant with his glow. I can't even see you, but I know you must be glowing with his presence.

Love you sister, Kim

fuzzytop 11/16/2009  

Dear Bev - Happy Birthday!

I loved that second quote... Praying that your joy bells ring loud and true, and that you continue to hear His voice, feel His presence, and experience His mercy and grace.

Much love,
Adrienne

Amanda 11/16/2009  

Happy birthday, sweet Bev! We all love you very much.

beckyjomama 11/16/2009  

Happy Birthday Sweet Bev - I know this is hard and I so very much wish I could be there to walk you through some of it, but know that you are being PRAYED through ALL of it! You are so very loved!!

boomama 11/16/2009  

Happy Birthday, Bev - you are so loved!

twinkle 11/16/2009  

Happy Birthday, Beautiful Bev! Those tears your crying right now will one day fill that Crystal Sea in heaven. I wish I was smart enough to post about the difference between a candle burning and an oil lamp. The Holy Spirit is like the burning flame of an oil lamp. Not a candle. I love TobyMac's song, Burn for You. I pray that You will burn for the One who is a Fire in your bones! Live! Be Alive! Eternity is always just a breath away. You are held in the hearts and prayers of many people, and God knows your days. You will live every one of them that He has planned for you. Burn on, little oil lamp. Let the Spirit energize you and consume you. Much love to you...

He Knows My Name 11/16/2009  

Couldn't let the day finish without stopping in to say (((Happy Birthday))) hugs included to you sweet Bev. You blow me away with your love for our Lord. What a beautiful and perfect verse that describes YOUR heart!

Sending you love the size of Texas!

janel

Mary Lou 11/16/2009  

Bev, happy birthday to a very special child of God. In the midst of the fire you are not being scorched nor consumed....He has you in His right hand. He has redeemed you and you are His. The waters will not overflow your head..they have not gone over your head..for He truly is the Lifter of your head. Blessings on your day. (wish I had known when it was). You've been on my heart all week. Blessings and love, Mary Lou
and hugs by the ton...

Anonymous 11/16/2009  

Happy Birthday, Bev! I am praying that the revelation of the Father's love would stir fresh in your heart today. I am trusting that His hand will lead and guide you in every decision. I am standing with you for His perfect provision in your life and the life of your family.
Sincere words from a heart of love,
Kristen in Ft Worth

Sharon Brumfield 11/16/2009  

Happy Birthday girl!
I just want you to know how you touch my heart. How following your story has encouraged me and let me see what the real thing looks like being lived out in the life of a sister by blood.
He brings you to mind often....I think He wants to talk about His friend who is hurting so. :)
He is holding you girl...and I am holding on to Him in prayer.
Love you sweet sister.
The Joy of your Lord is truly showing in your strength.

StillMe842 11/16/2009  

Happy Birthday! You're truly an inspirational to us all and that's quite an accomplishment all by itself! Take one day at a time, purposing each second to the Lord. It'll all come together in due time. His timing is always impeccable!

Dee 11/17/2009  

Dear Bev,
Happy Day after your birthday. I'm sorry that I missed your post yesterday. "...a mere drop of pleasure in an ocean of joy...". That is beautiful to me. I want to ponder on that for awhile. I love your love for and knowledge of the Scriptures. The special nuggets that the Lord gives you are so intensly personal that you must feel so treasured. Thank you for sharing with us. God bless you today,sister, with His favor.
Love to you,
Deidra

Yolanda 11/17/2009  

I am so thankful that in the midst of this huge trial (in my eyes) you are rejoicing in a much bigger God than the trial itself and that your joybells are ringing.

Love to you,
Yolanda

yvette 11/17/2009  

Happy Birthday!!! I hope you had fun dancing!! Still praying for you guys. Love, Yvette

Lindsee 11/19/2009  

Praying joy for you today, sweet Bev!

Denise 11/19/2009  

Coming by often but missed the Nov 8th post.....so good to see you hear and to listen close for the joy bells that HE has placed in your heart.......... One day we will all hear the bells and they will be something we can touch....... Praying for you Bev..... HE is near to you even in your breath....

jennyhope 11/20/2009  

happy late bday! I actually have had you on my heart a lot! I was thinking about your bday last year or two years ago this week.
I love you and I am praying for you.
Also, I was going to ask you if you ever found anything out about Cyd?

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend 11/22/2009  

praying for you dear friend......Happy Thanksgiving...

Sharon Brumfield 11/27/2009  

Thinking of you today....love you girl.

Sheryl 11/28/2009  

I'm late in saying happy birthday! I'm even late in saying happy thanksgiving! But, please know that you are on my mind and in my heart.

Sheryl

praisinyahweh 12/02/2009  

Let me introduce myself. My name is Lisa and I am a six year breast cancer survivor. I have only read a little of your story, but it sounds so familiar. I wanted to share something I wrote with you. It is called learning to dance.

In every lifetime there are defining moments, moments that shape and mold our very existence. Some of them are moments we embrace with grateful hearts, cherishing them while they last, wishing they would last even longer. Giving birth to my daughters, Caitlyn and Jillian, were just this type of moment. I can still remember vividly the exact moment that each of them was placed in my arms for the first time and the indescribable emotions that flooded through me. I had never known a love so deep could come from within my heart. Looking down at their beautiful faces, counting their little fingers and toes, covering them with mommy kisses, all of it was magical, and was nothing short of a miracle. On the other end of the spectrum, are those defining moments born from times difficult to endure, times that rock our lives right down to their very foundations. Often unexpected, and always unwelcome these moments seem to last an eternity. Such was the moment I found out I had breast cancer. It was if someone had slammed me onto my back, knocking the very breath out of me. I was instantly cast into a world of darkness and fear. I had never known I could feel so lost and alone.

praisinyahweh 12/02/2009  

Although both the above moments drastically and permanently changed the course of my life, surprisingly it was not in my happiness that I drew close to the Father, but rather in my utter despair. Causing what could have been one of the deepest valleys in my life to be, in fact, one the tallest mountaintops. Not that the journey up the slope of that mountain was always pleasurable or easy, at times it was quite the contrary, but the things that I learned along the way made every step worth the cost.

I learned that true strength lies not in independence, but in dependence. For it was only in my time of brokenness, when I was unable to carry the weight of my circumstances, that I was able to fully experience the Lord's amazing strength. It was when I was unable to walk on my own, that He gathered me up in His arms, hugged me to His chest and carried me. In His arms, I found the strength to face my deepest fears and move past them. I had never known that I could be so physically close to God, nor that he wished to be so close to me.

Having been a Christian for most of my life, I had tried to live a life that would be pleasing to Him. I approached my life like it was a dance, one I was doing for Him, hoping that He would approve. I had the best of intentions, but that that was not what He wanted from me. You see, my Father wanted to dance with me, to lead me and to guide me. And so, much like a child, in my sorrow I placed my feet up on His feet, wrapped my arms around Him, and He began to move me according to His desire. I was in awe that the creator of the universe would want such an intimacy with me, and, having loved Him for a long time, I fell in Love with Him. In return, I felt the love of a parent holding their child for the first time rain down upon me, and I cried. I cried because I never knew that He loved me so deeply and personally.

praisinyahweh 12/02/2009  

This realization lead to another truth, God is only as far away as you keep Him. I know now, that the Lord is always there, waiting for each of us to seek His presence. He desires an active relationship with each of us, but it is our choice. He desires to be our master in all that we do, but it is our choice. He hears our cries of agony as we suffer and wants to help, but it is our choice. He hears our cries of jubilation as we celebrate and yearns to celebrate personally with each and every one of us, but it is our choice. He wants us to follow Him, but it is our choice. He wants us to be close to Him, but it is our choice. It is our choice to either keep Him at an arms distance, or to open up our hearts to Him, submit ourselves to His will and fulfill His greatest desires. The rewards for doing so are plentiful, but again it is our choice.

I also learned that God is constantly speaking to us, only we don't always take the time to hear Him. There have been plenty of times in my life that I cried out to Him in need, heard nothing and wondered why He didn't respond. Feeling abandoned, I often blamed Him for the very circumstances He would have gladly saved me from, had I only stopped talking long enough to listen. The news of my diagnosis was so disturbing that it left me speechless, and it was then, when I was out of words myself, that I heard Him calling me. Like a Father calming a child, His words filled my heart drawing my focus to Him, rather than my problem. With my eyes fixed on Him, I followed His voice, and my journey downhill began to instantly change. It was then, and only then, that my journey to the mountaintop began. Looking back over my life, I now know that it was never that He didn't respond to my prayers, but rather that at times I didn't want to hear what He had to say. I have learned that being willing to hear things that might make you uncomfortable or require you to change is often difficult to do, but He has our best interests at heart. It is so very important to make time to listen.

praisinyahweh 12/02/2009  

I learned that God can transform even the most horrible of experiences into something miraculous, when they are placed at the feet of Jesus. As difficult as it can be to give up control and lay it down, if we let Him, God will often use our individual trials to speak to those that might not otherwise hear Him. Through me, the Lord has taught others about the importance of faith, the power of prayer and the gifts he bestows on His children. Watching Him work through me, knowing that He was touching other people's lives through my walk of faith, was in itself another defining moment in my life. Through submission and faith, the Lord has used me to spread His word and love to other people. My mother returned to the church after many years of separation, my daughter, Caitlyn, accepted Christ as her
personal Savior and countless people have professed their lives to be changed because of my example. Although I would not have picked cancer for myself, the work of God I have witnessed through it has given the journey a value that far outweighs the costs. Each and every one of us can be an instrument of God. Shining His light, spreading His love. All we need to do it lay our troubles at His feet.

Etched in my heart, also, is the reality that prayers are integral in the life of any Christian. While numerous earthly things constantly work to separate us from the Lord, I am convinced that prayers are the very stepping-stones that bring us back to Him. They are the medium through which He works within our lives. The challenge, however, lies not within praying itself, but in being able to accept God's answer to them. This experience has taught me something about that as well, sometimes God says no to something that we want now because he is saying yes to something more valuable, something that is somehow connected to the very thing we are trying to escape. The bigger picture belongs to Him alone, it is often only in hindsight that we are able to examine a chain of what once seemed random events, put the pieces together, and begin to understand.

praisinyahweh 12/02/2009  

The body of Christ is an incredible thing. It was absolutely amazing the amount of support both tangible and intangible that we received from it. It was as if our circumstances set of a ripple that went out through the church, touching many, calling to duty the servant's heart that God has blessed His children with. I never knew it was possible to be loved by so many people, or that I would come to love so many of them! I learned that God doesn't want us to do it alone. He gave his Son disciples, he gave us the body of Christ.


God gave me many truths and lessons throughout this journey, but there is one that I hold dear to my heart, one I revisit often, one that has become my mantra, one that I truly believe to be the secret of living. It is not complex, and yet it came as a stunning revelation to me. Our lives are finite, and our date to return home has already been decided. I came to understand that having a life threatening disease does not change that time. In this light, it became merely something to do while I am here on Earth. I now know that each day is a gift, and the moment we are actually in is really all we are guaranteed. The days of yesterday are gone, given to the past never to return. The days of tomorrow belong only to the future, and living in pursuit of them often results in the most tragic thing of all, forfeiting the moment you are in. One of the biggest challenges we face in this world is living in the here and now, but the rewards for doing so are numerous . for it is in doing this very thing that God can teach us truly to live.

praisinyahweh 12/02/2009  

I do not profess to be a mature Christian, but He is maturing me. I have grown, and my path has narrowed from where I was before this journey began. There are still so many things that I don't know. But there is one thing that I know for sure. God spent a lot of my life following me, but now it is my time to follow Him, and I do so willingly and without reservation.

My you find comfort and peace in the hands of your Father.

praisinyahweh 12/03/2009  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sharon Brumfield 12/09/2009  

Thinking of you girl.
Would love to send you a Christmas card...but I need a snail mail address.
Just wanted you to know I am here and praying.
Love ya!

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

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I've met some amazing women through blogging. I would love to hear from you. My personal e-mail is:
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I have another blog where I blog daily as a small group of us read through the New Testament this year. It's called A String of Pearls. We carry each other on mats (when we just can't walk anymore) to Jesus and sweet things like that.

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